|Rep. Barr Loses Primary
|8/20. Rep. John
Linder (R-GA) defeated Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) in
the Republican primary election for the Georgia 7th
Congressional District. The two incumbents faced each other as
a result of redistricting.
Rep. Barr has been active on a wide range of technology
related issues, particularly matters pertaining to electronic
privacy and Internet taxation. As a member of the House Judiciary
Committee, and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Commercial
and Administrative Law, he has been in a position to pursue
his technology related agenda.
Privacy. Rep. Barr has been active in various debates
regarding privacy. There are two distinct types of privacy
rights. First, there are the privacy rights of individual
consumers, patients, and web surfers as against the
corporations and other private sector entities that collect
data about them. Second, there are the rights of individuals
as against the government entities that monitor, investigate,
and prosecute them. Generally, Republicans and conservatives
who take an interest in protecting privacy see government as
the larger threat. Rep. Barr and Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) have
been among the most vocal members of this group. (Rep. Armey
is also retiring.) In contrast, Democrats and liberals who
take an interest in privacy tend to see businesses as the
Rep. Barr gave a speech
in April 1999 in which he discussed the National Security Agency's (NSA)
signals intelligence activities, the FDIC's proposed
"know your customer" regulations, the proposed
national ID card, and roving wiretaps by law enforcement. See,
TLJ story titled "Rep.
Barr Encourages Privacy Advocates to Deluge Congress",
April 6, 1999.
In late 2000, during the 106th Congress, Rep. Barr was active
in the debate over HR
5108, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000.
Rep. Barr offered an amendment
that was approved by the Constitution Subcommittee that would
have prohibited the government from using cell phones as
tracking devices without probable cause. During full committee
debate he argued for a bill that protects privacy, rather than
increases law enforcement power. In the end, the Judiciary
Committee did not approve the bill, and it lapsed at the end
of the 106th Congress. See, TLJ story titled "House
Committee Delays Adoption of Electronic Communications Privacy
Act", September 22, 2000.
Rep. Barr is also the sponsor of HR 4561,
the "Federal Agency Protection of Privacy Act". This
bill would require federal agencies to include a privacy
impact analysis with proposed regulations that are circulated
for public notice and comment. See, story titled "House
Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Federal Agency Privacy" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 423, May 2, 2002.
Rep. Barr also worked to limit law enforcement surveillance
powers contained in early versions of the PATRIOT Act, passed
in late 2001.
Internet Taxation. Rep. Barr has also been a leading
opponent of taxing the Internet. As Chairman of the
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, he
shepherded HR 1552,
the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, through his
Subcommittee, and the full Judiciary Committee. The bill
extended the temporary moratorium on multiple or
discriminatory Internet taxes, and taxes on Internet access.
See, story titled "Subcommittee Approves 5 Year Extension
of Internet Tax Freedom Act", in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 241, August 3, 2001. The full
Committee and House ultimately approved a shorter extension
than that backed by Rep. Barr. See, story titled "House
Committee Votes 2 Year Extension of Net Tax Moratorium", TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 284, October 11, 2001.
Rep. Barr has also supported HR 2526,
the Internet Tax Fairness Act of 2001. The bill would limit
the imposition of business activity taxes (BATs) on electronic
and other interstate commerce by state and local taxing
authorities. See, story titled "House Subcommittee
Approves Bill to Limit Business Activity Taxes", in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 471, July 17, 2002.
During debate in the Subcommittee on Commercial and
Administrative Law over HR 1410,
the Internet Tax Moratorium and Equity Act, sponsored by Rep.
Ernest Istook (R-OK), Rep. Barr raised privacy issues. The
bill would have provided that state and local taxing
authorities may require out of jurisdiction Internet sellers
(and other remote sellers) to collect sales taxes. The U.S.
Supreme Court ruled in Quill
v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992) that state and local
taxing authorities are barred under the Commerce Clause from
requiring remote sellers without a substantial nexus to the
taxing jurisdiction to collect sales taxes for sales to
persons within the jurisdiction. However, the Court added that
Congress may extend such authority. HR 1410 would provide
such taxing authority. Rep. Barr argued that under the
proposed legislation, retailers would need to collect data,
including individuals' names, addresses, items purchased, and
locations of purchases.
|Sen. Enzi Wins Primary
|8/20. Sen. Mike Enzi
(R-WY) easily won the Republican primary in Wyoming. He is the
sponsor and leading proponent of S 149,
the Export Administration Act of 2001.
Sen. Enzi's bill would modernize export control laws. It would
ease restraints on most dual use products, such as computers
and software, but increase penalties for violations. The Bush
Administration supports this version of the bill. The Senate
passed it by a vote of 85-14, five days before the terrorist
attacks of September 11, over the opposition of a small group
of Senators who assert that it would harm national security.
The bill would also repeal provisions of the 1998 National
Defense Authorization Act which require the President to use
Million Theoretical Operations Per Second (MTOPS) to set
restrictions on the export of high performance computers.
|DOJ Clears eBay Acquisition
|8/20. PayPal announced
in a release
"that the waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino
Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 expired without a formal
request from the Department of Justice for additional
information or documentary material, which is commonly
referred to as a second request. The waiting period pertained
to notices filed in respect of eBay's pending acquisition of
On July 8 eBay and PayPal
announced that eBay will acquire PayPal. eBay operates an
auction web site. PayPal facilitates online payments. eBay
stated in a release
that "eBay will acquire all of the outstanding shares of
PayPal in a tax free, stock for stock transaction using a
fixed exchange ratio of 0.39 eBay shares for each PayPal
share. Based on eBay's stock price on July 5, 2002, the
acquisition is valued at $1.5 billion." Also, PayPal
"will continue to operate as an independent brand".
eBay also stated that "In view of the uncertain
regulatory environment surrounding online gaming, eBay plans
to phase out PayPal's gaming business after the transaction
eBay's acquisition of PayPal still remains subject to approval
by stockholders of PayPal.
|FTC Sets Deadline for
Comments on MSC Software Consent Agreement
|8/20. The Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) published a notice
in Federal Register setting a deadline of September 13 for
public comments on its proposed consent agreement with MSC Software Corporation.
Containing Consent Order [22 pages PDF], and notice in the
Federal Register, August 20, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 161, at Pages
53942 - 53945.
On August 14, the FTC issued an administrative complaint
against MSC Software alleging violations of Section 5 of the
Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) and Section 7 of the
Clayton Act in connection with its 1999 acquisitions of
Universal Analytics, Inc. (UAI) and Computerized Structural
Analysis & Research Corp. (CSAR).
MSC sells simulation software, and related services and
systems. The FTC stated that MSC was the dominant supplier of
Nastran software, which is an engineering simulation software
program used in the aerospace and automotive industries, with
an estimated 90% of worldwide revenue; UAI and CSAR each had
sales of about 5% of worldwide revenue. MSC then acquired UAI
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, MSC must divest at
least one copy of its current advanced Nastran software,
including the source code. The divestiture will be through
royalty free, perpetual, non-exclusive licenses to one or two
acquirers who must be approved by the FTC.
This proceeding is titled "In the Matter of MSC.Software".
It is FTC Docket No. 9299.
|People and Appointments
|9/20. President Bush announced his intent to appoint Clay
Davis, Gilbert Gonzalez, James House, Luis
Luna, Roberto Salazar, and Christine Toretti
to be Members of the Board of Directors of the Rural
Telephone Bank. The Rural Telephone Bank was established
in 1971 by an amendment to the Rural Electrification
Administration Act as a source of financing for
telecommunications companies and cooperatives eligible to
borrow under the Act's telephone loan program. See, White
|Wednesday, August 21
|Deadline for those persons requesting to testify at the Federal Election Commission's (FEC)
August 28-29 hearing to submit comments to the FEC regarding
its second Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [67 pages in MS Word]
regarding the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA),
the recently enacted campaign finance reform legislation. This
NPRM pertains to "electioneering communications".
The proposed rules would exempt webcasts. See also, FEC release.
|Thursday, August 22
|RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 5.
|10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) Advisory Committee for the 2003 World Radiocommunication
Conference (WRC-03 Advisory Committee) will hold a meeting.
in Federal Register, July 19, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 139, at Page
47549. See, notice
in Federal Register, August 2, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 149, at
Pages 50437 - 50438, rescheduling the meeting.
|Tuesday, August 27
|10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The State Department's International
Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet. See, notice
in Federal Register, July 23, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 141, at Page
48241. Location: Room 1105, State Department.
TIME? The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will host a one
half day seminar titled "Review of the Patent Office's
21st Century Strategic Plan". Location: NAS, Lecture
Room, 500 Fifth Street, NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to its
request for comments on the effectiveness of Internet blocking
and filtering technologies. § 1703 of the Children's
Internet Protection Act (CIPA) [PDF] directs NTIA to
initiate a notice and comment proceeding to evaluate whether
currently available Internet blocking or filtering technology
protection measures and Internet safety policies adequately
address the needs of educational institutions. It also directs
NTIA to make recommendations to Congress on how to foster the
development of technology protection measures that meet these
needs. See, notice
in the Federal Register.
|8/20. The Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice
in the Federal Register describing its "broadcast
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [15 pages in PDF]. The FCC
adopted this NPRM at its meeting on August 8, 2002. It
released the text of the NPRM on August 9, 2002. This notice
confirms previously announced comment deadlines. Comments
due by October 30, 2002. Reply comments are due December 13,
2002. See, Federal Register, August 20, 2002, Vol. 67, No.
161, Pages 53903 - 53909. This is MB Docket No. 02-230.
8/20. The Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) announced in a release
that it "has completed processing the sworn statements
filed as of Aug. 14 by the CEOs and CFOs of the largest U.S.
based companies and found that the overwhelming majority of
CEOs and CFOs filed statements certifying the material
accuracy and completeness of their companies' prior disclosure
reports." See also, Statements by
Company CEOs and CFOs.
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